Israeli troops started their Gaza incursion on June 28 with the objective of freeing Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Palestinians since June 25. So far, 51 Palestinian citizens have been killed and the only power station powering Gaza has been rendered dysfunctional in the raid. Bridges and power transformers have been destroyed in the offensive and Imports of foodstuffs into Gaza have been banned.
The military wing of Hamas, which is holding Cpl. Gilad Shalit, has called for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeili jails in return for his freedom. These calls have been rejected by Israeli authorities.
The political wing of the governing party in Palestine, Hamas, has called for negotiations to settle this dispute. The Israeli camp has rejected talks saying, “Such negotiations would support another kidnapping.” It also reiterated that the operation would continue until Israel achieved its objectives.
Major General Yoav Galant, commander of Israel’s southern region, said, “We are prepared to continue the operation a month, two months and, if need be, even more.” He continued, “The Palestinians will do their reckoning. They will count hundreds of dead terrorists; they will count the damaged infrastructure, the destroyed offices, the damaged factories.”
The European Union has shown concern over the continuous military operations in the area. Kofi Annan, general secretary of the United Nations, urged Israel to stop military activities, warning of the prospects of a humanitarian crisis in the area.
The united states, however, has been supportive of Israeli actions. “Let’s remember who started this,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told CNN. “It was the outrageous actions of Hamas in violating Israel’s sovereignty, in taking the soldier hostage.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Qassam rockets kept assailing Israeli territory. So far, one Israeli has been wounded and three others, on whose house a rocket landed, have been treated for shocks. One rocket also landed on an Israeli school, but no damage was reported as the school was off.
- Israeli War Crimes Ignored (The Heathlander)